For more than 20 years Family Council has opposed efforts to legalize assisted suicide in Arkansas.
Last year we helped defeat a proposal to let doctors prescribe lethal drugs to patients.
One of the points we have made time and again is that patients, doctors, and hospitals may feel financial pressure to opt for assisted suicide, if it is legalized.
Last year a Canadian man with ALS made headlines when he chose to take his own life under the country’s assisted suicide and euthanasia laws after the government chose not to provide him with 24-hour home healthcare services due to cost.
In parts of the U.S. where physician-assisted suicide is legal, insurance companies have refused to pay for patients’ medical care, but have offered to cover assisted-suicide drugs.
Proponents of assisted suicide generally dismiss these concerns.
However, last week a bioethicist and a European professor published an article in which they actually argued that assisted suicide makes sense economically.
Writing in the journal Clinical Ethics, bioethicist Dr. David Shaw and Professor Alec Morton make three points:
- Assisted suicide lets patients avoid suffering
- The resources that would be used helping them could be used to help other patients instead
- Doctors may be able to harvest organs from patients who opt for assisted suicide
The authors even go so far as to write,
For example, a patient who is in great pain because of cancer with a life expectancy of around two years will continue to require pain medication and support from clinical staff and also carers for those two years. For each such patient, legalising assisted dying would avoid this waste of resources.
There is so much wrong with these arguments that it is difficult to know where to begin.
For starters, we know from experience in other states that assisted suicide doesn’t actually help patients avoid suffering.
In fact, most people who inquire about assisted suicide generally are not concerned about pain or suffering.
Many of them are lonely and feel like they are losing control over their lives because of their illness. They need counseling — not a prescription for lethal drugs.
Second, you cannot place a dollar value on human life — but that is exactly where this type of thinking leads.
Being pro-life means believing human life is sacred from conception until natural death.
Just like abortion, euthanasia and assisted-suicide are murder, and they violate the sanctity of human life.